Staying Safe, Pueblos Magicos, and Adrenaline
Staying Safe in Mexico, Pueblos Magicos and Adrenaline
There are many overland routes through Northern Mexico to Oaxaca and Chiapas including, of course, traveling through Baja California and taking a ferry to mainland Mexico. We chose a faster path that involved crossing the border in Laredo and exploring some of the Pueblos Magicos (http://www.pueblosmexico.com.mx) in Northern Mexico, the Bajio and Central Mexico.
Staying Safe in Mexico
Mexico has a bad reputation. And there are definitely places you should avoid, including border towns and cities and towns like Acapulco that are controlled by cartels or gangs. But in general, we have felt quite safe everywhere we have gone in Northern Mexico, the Bajio and Central Mexico which is one of the advantages of this route through to Oaxaca and Chiapas. With that being said, always overestimate the amount of time it’s going to take to get form one location to another so that you never have to drive at night. Driving at night increases your risk of getting into an accident and, in a few spots like the Mexico/US border towns, getting robbed. Stay tuned for a longer blog post on staying safe (and keeping your dog and vehicle safe) in Mexico.
Our first stop was Parque La Huasteca (http://www.parquelahuasteca.com) outside of Monterrey. This park is in the Sierra Madre Oriental mountain range, a beautiful limestone mountain range outside of Monterrey. There is plenty to do inside the park including mountain biking, rock climbing and a via ferrata, making it a great place to spend a day or two before heading south. Other options in the area include El Potrero Chico which has a huge campground and is one of the best sport climbing areas in the world.
Our route through Northern and Central Mexico involved checking out some of the Pueblos Mágicos including San Luis de Las Pozos, Pátzcuaro and Valle de Bravo. We particularly liked Valle de Bravo since it offers great mountain biking, stand up paddle boarding and paragliding. San Luis de Las Pozos and Patzcuaro are also beautiful although there is a bit less to do there. Other great options include include San Miguel de Allende (a popular expat retirement community), and Taxco. The Pueblos Mágicos have great food and friendly people and good site seeing, making them great stopping points on your way to Chiapas and Oaxaca.
One of the great things about Northern Mexico, the Bajio and Central Mexico is opportunities to get your adrenaline flowing (or just get some great exercise). For example, there is world class rock climbing (and a via ferrata) in El Potrero Chico and Parque La Huasteca and the Sierra Madre Oriental. There is good mountain biking and trail running around Mexico City and in Parque La Huasteca, San Luis de Las Pozos and Valle de Bravo. And there is awesome paragliding in Valle de Bravo. Valle de Bravo is actually
one of the best places in the world for paragliding, with awesome cross-country routes circumventing granite peaks and connecting thermals from the mountains surrounding the city to the Lago de Bravo. My tandem trip with (highly recommended) Gofly (Calle El Salitre 100) offered plenty of excitement including plenty of turbulence resulting in a full frontal collapse (when the edge of the paraglider loses its loading and collapses in a downward motion). Another adventure not to be missed is the Matacanes Canyon Expedition, a full day guided canyoneering expedition outside of Monterrey.
Overall, we can’t recommend this route through Central Mexico to Oaxaca and Chiapas enough. We felt safe, very safe. We were welcomed with open arms by local Mexicans. The accommodations (for us campgrounds) were great. And there was plenty to do including outdoor activities and site seeing in the Pueblos Mágicos. Check out our Chiapas and Oaxaca trip reports for info on where we went next!